Sea Eagles v Roosters: Rival hookers under a cloud

Did the Roosters use up their get-out-of-jail card last weekend, or do they still have some tricks left in their bag to curtail a fired up Manly Sea Eagles side?

Manly will be keen to re-establish their finals credentials after an embarrassing 40-12 hiding at the hands of Melbourne. It will be a long week for the Sea Eagles to prove they are not a side that will wilt for a second time in row. 

One thing is certain. Manly will want more ball than the 39% possession they had against the Storm - or 10 sets fewer than the 39 Melbourne enjoyed.

The weight of possession against Des Hasler's men could be seen by the fact Kenny Bromwich (28) was the Storm's highest tackler, while Manly's best Jake Trbojevic had to work a lot harder (48).

Then there is the shoring up of defence.


The Storm players busted out of 36 tackles to Manly's 19, and made five line-breaks to zero. 

Trent Robinson would have been pleased his side only conceded four penalties in the slim 25-24 win over the Titans. He will not be pleased with his side's poor completion rate - 26 of 39 sets for 67%. 

The winner of this match will progress to a preliminary final match-up with Souths in Brisbane.

The rundown
Team news
Roosters: The under-strength side could be further depleted if Sam Verrills is unable to have success at the judiciary. He is facing 1-2 games on the sidelines after being charged with a grade-two careless high tackle.

Veteran prop Siosiua Taukeiaho is also in doubt due to a leg injury suffered in the nail-biting win over the Titans.

Sea Eagles: Lachlan Croker is expected to return to the No.9 jersey after he was a late withdrawal for the clash with Melbourne due to a back problem.

Karl Lawton is likely to make way for Croker's return but may remain in the game-day squad on the bench.

Key match-up
All eyes will once again be on the two No.1s in James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic. NSW Origin teammates, they have not opposed each other this year.

When the Roosters hosted Manly in round one this year, it was a 46-4 hiding at the SCG with Trbojevic still nursing a strained hamstring. Tedesco scored two tries that match - but for the season the pair are light years apart with the Roosters fullback crossing for eight and Manly's custodian for 25.

However, in running metres and try assists they square off against each other quite well. Tedesco has the edge in tackle-busts though with 141 to Trbojevic's 107, by virtue of the fact he's played five more games. 

Stat attack
It's been eight years since these two met in the finals - the 2013 NRL Grand Final to be exact, with the Roosters winning 26-18. Robinson was the coach then but Geoff Toovey was mentoring Manly.

There are two survivors from both sides - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Daniel Tupou for the Roosters; Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran from Manly. 


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